Scaling Social Impact by Improving Operations at Social Enterprises
Learn how to scale your social impact by streamlining your operations and how you work with freelancers, consultants, contractors, and vendors.
If you are starting or growing a social enterprise, you care about social impact. You’ve got a mission to make a positive change in the world, and nothing’s going to stop you. Whether your vision is global or local, improving your operations will help you scale your impact.
Operations for Social Impact
Social entrepreneurs and changemakers can scale their impact by improving operational efficiency. Here are some tips for upgrading your operations.
Measure your social impact
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To scale your social impact, the first step is to measure your impact. Measuring social impact can be difficult as it’s usually intangible and often long-term. Start by understanding your goals and assign appropriate measurements to assess your progress towards those goals. Whenever possible, use measurements that other social enterprises use so that you can measure your progress against your industry benchmarks. You can find industry benchmarks via companies like 60 Decibels, which are dedicated to measuring social impact and can provide benchmarks for your sector and geographic region.
Scale your social impact via contractors, consultants, and freelancers
There are many reasons to use independent contractors to scale your growth. From specialized skills to lower rates, from flexibility to working with a global team, the benefits are deep and broad.
Brynne Caleda of Yoga Ed. says that using a liquid workforce “has allowed us to work with highly skilled individuals whom we could not afford to bring on full time.” Yoga Ed. empowers adults to improve their own lifelong health and that of the children and teens in their lives via evidence-based mindfulness and movement.
Michele Heyward of PositiveHire also relies on liquid workers to take on project-based work to help her grow her company. PositiveHire provides professional development to underrepresented women in STEM and diversity & inclusion services to employers to increase workforce diversity.
Yet another social enterprise relying on the liquid workforce is Devie. Puja Balachander, Founder of Devie, uses a contract development firm to build the software and interns to help with market research, social media, and visual design.
Tamar Renaud of Vital Strategies focuses on ensuring that everyone is protected by a strong public health system. Vital Strategies relies on a global workforce to support its mission, with people in 40 different countries. Thirty to forty percent of the workers are contractors. She says that “we’re lucky that we’re able to remain flexible and agile even as we grow.”
Streamline your vendor and contractor spending
While there are clear benefits to working with freelancers, consultants, contractors, and vendors, it can be too easy for contracts to get auto-renewed, for duplicate invoices to be received and paid, and for expenses to get out of control.
When working with contractors, consultants, vendors, and freelancers, it’s critical to have Master Contracts as well as well-defined work orders. Ensure that your contracts and work orders have end dates so that you aren’t on the hook for more payments than you intend. Also, it’s essential to match your invoices to your Work Orders to make sure you’re not being overbilled and that you aren’t paying invoices outside of scope.
Use a Vendor Management System or Freelancer Management System
Using a Vendor Management System (VMS) or Freelancer Management System (FMS) like Liquid helps you streamline your contractor and vendor spending by:
- Reducing the time to get contracts and work orders signed and executed;
- Automatically collecting and submitting appropriate tax forms (IRS W9, W8, and 1099);
- Forecasting your contract and project expenditures for accurate financial planning and budgeting;
- Setting payment terms at the vendor level;
- Automatically matching invoices to Work Orders and alert you to potential issues;
- Reducing the likelihood of fines and penalties by ensuring compliant with US and global freelancer compliance requirements;
- And much more.
Our users report that using Liquid has resulted in:
- 50% reduction on software spend
- $4k/mo reduction in overhead for time saved
- $12k/year savings due to error reduction
Upgrade Your Operations for Growth
People are the essential success factor in any social enterprise. Tamara Renaud, COO of Vital Strategies, says, “Really, once you hire the right person for the job, they take care of everything else.”
Turning to a liquid workforce gives social enterprises the flexibility and agility they need to bring in the right people, with the right skill sets, at the right time. And Liquid makes it easy for social enterprises to manage their freelancers, contractors, consultants, and vendors. Liquid streamlines operations, giving you more time to focus on social impact rather than contract and invoice management.
Ready to simplify your social enterprise’s operations? Request a demo of Liquid today.
Updated: April 13, 2021
Quick note: This is not to be taken as tax advice or legal advice or payroll advice. Since tax rules and laws change over time and can vary by location and industry, consult a CPA / tax advisor and/or attorney for specific guidance.